Congressman Paul Ryan recently coined a smart phrase to describe the core concept of economic freedom: "The right to rise."
Think about it. We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn't seem like something we should have to protect.
But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.
That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.
But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself.
Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated regulations. We see human tragedy and we demand a regulation to prevent it. We see a criminal fraud and we demand more laws. We see an industry dying and we demand it be saved. Each time, we demand "Do something . . . anything."
Have we lost faith in the free-market system of entrepreneurial capitalism? Are we no longer willing to place our trust in the creative chaos unleashed by millions of people pursuing their own best economic interests?
The right to rise does not require a libertarian utopia to exist. Rather, it requires fewer, simpler and more outcome-oriented rules. Rules for which an honest cost-benefit analysis is done before their imposition. Rules that sunset so they can be eliminated or adjusted as conditions change. Rules that have disputes resolved faster and less expensively through arbitration than litigation.
In Washington, D.C., rules are going in the opposite direction. They are exploding in reach and complexity. They are created under a cloud of uncertainty, and years after their passage nobody really knows how they will work.
We either can go down the road we are on, a road where the individual is allowed to succeed only so much before being punished with ruinous taxation, where commerce ignores government action at its own peril, and where the state decides how a massive share of the economy's resources should be spent.
Or we can return to the road we once knew and which has served us well: a road where individuals acting freely and with little restraint are able to pursue fortune and prosperity as they see fit, a road where the government's role is not to shape the marketplace but to help prepare its citizens to prosper from it.
In short, we must choose between the straight line promised by the statists and the jagged line of economic freedom. The straight line of gradual and controlled growth is what the statists promise but can never deliver. The jagged line offers no guarantees but has a powerful record of delivering the most prosperity and the most opportunity to the most people. We cannot possibly know in advance what freedom promises for 312 million individuals. But unless we are willing to explore the jagged line of freedom, we will be stuck with the straight line. And the straight line, it turns out, is a flat line.
Sorry, I have read too much about the Bushes and their beliefs in statist tendencies to believe Jeb espouses this. And Jeb acts like he and Paul Ryan are hitting on a new theme. Yeah, the guys like Newt and others who said "the era of Reagan is over" and "quit romanticizing for the past" are using things said and articulated by Ronald Reagan, and for the last two and a half decades, by Rush Limbaugh.
Why do I think Jeb Bush didn't write this stuff, or if he did, he is only feeding red meat and not a true believer? Look what he said in May 2009 in the Washington Times:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Saturday that it's time for the Republican Party to give up its "nostalgia" for the heyday of the Reagan era and look forward, even if it means stealing the winning strategy deployed by Democrats in the 2008 election.
"You can't beat something with nothing, and the other side has something. I don't like it, but they have it, and we have to be respectful and mindful of that," Mr. Bush said.
The former president's brother, often mentioned as a potential candidate in 2012, said President Obama's message of hope and change during the 2008 campaign clearly resonated with Americans.
"So our ideas need to be forward looking and relevant. I felt like there was a lot of nostalgia and the good old days in the [Republican] messaging. I mean, it's great, but it doesn't draw people toward your cause," Mr. Bush said. "From the conservative side, it's time for us to listen first, to learn a little bit, to upgrade our message a little bit, to not be nostalgic about the past because, you know, things do ebb and flow."
The Florida governor joined former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor on Saturday at a small pizza parlor in Arlington for the inaugural event of the National Council for a New America (NCNA).
Mr. Cantor said meeting with ordinary folks is the key way "to begin a conversation with the American people" and explain Republican principles to anyone who will listen.
This is why Mitt, Jeb, and Eric Cantor are not conservatives. Conservatism is not a flash in the pan, good time johnny come lately bunch of stuff that changes. Conservatism is timeless. It is a way of life. You don't change it or anything. It changes you. It changes the world and has changed the world.
It shows they fundamentally lack the full understanding of conservatism to waffle in such a way. Conservatism may compromise at times, but overall you don't throw it out and then bring it back and recycle. It is a set of guide post principles, not temporary markers. The problem is that these clowns can't articulate it themselves or don't fully live it. So, they try to say, Reagan is over, but all it shows is their lack of understanding again.
These clowns just are egomaniacs. They want it all about them, and now they know that anti-Reagan/Reagan is passe talk is a nonstarter. So now Jeb goes out and has someone write him a piece Reagan himself could have written. This is why we are in the mess we are in.
The editorial is right. Jeb Bush, the alleged author, is most assuredly not.